Natural Wedding Hair? Yay or Nay?

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 How dare anyone tell a person of color with thick coily hair to cut it down. You  are suggesting that she cut down her self-esteem, her confidence, her blackness, her spirit. -Kadia B.

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Givien the title of the blog, it is right to assume I’m in favour of natural hair ANYwhere, ANYtime. I mean, fundamentally–it grows out of our head. Why should it be banished in the White house, an army base, a school picture or at one of the biggest days in a woman’s life–her own wedding. Who wants to show their grandchildren that defining moment with a hairstyle that is influenced by European beauty standards? They have their European beauty standards for a European bride–sleek or romantic or pinned up regal. And yes, those brides look so beautiful on their wedding day. And guess what? We have our beauty, too and it’s all but invisible on one of our most important days because we are afraid to define what African beauty should be.

Wearing your natural hair on your wedding day can be intimidating, but imagine how empowering it is? As a 28 year old in a relationship, I am thinking about wedding bells and I think Solange’s wedding look is so revolutionary and inspiring. I wouldn’t have ever had the damn guts to wear an Afro to my own weddingg before her! But she looks ethereal, magical, simply Divine in her own natural beauty. Is the wedding industry pissed off? They should be. Because we don’t need to, or want to, subscribe to your pin-straight happily ever after. We have our own kinky, coily and completely phenomenal happily ever after–from our gorgeous curls to the shoes that should have been bought Black-owned, y’all.

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Wearable Protective Styles!

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If you are just starting out with natural hair, let me tell you something. No matter what length, colour or texture of hair you have–natural hair is so beautiful. You have living art on your head, you have an enviable headpiece that is designed to stand out! My biggest advice is don’t abuse your hair trying to make it look like someone else’s head. GIve it lots of love and keep it protected this winter! I’m still on week 10 of my hair twist challenge (and okay, I do cheat sometimes and take my hair down for date night!) but it’s made a very noticeable difference being twisted or braided for the majority of the day or week. Believe it or not, you look JUST as beautiful with braids/twists as you do the trendy big Afro hair!

Doesn’t it feel damn good waking up every morning knowing you have been blessed with Afro hair? And yes, it can get dry and be fickle–but would you really switch it for any other kind of hair? Another great winter trick if you’re not 100% comfortable with keeping your hair in braids/twists but want it protected is to do the braids/twists then wear a cute hat outdoors, and leave out a sprig or two of kinky bangs. This way, when you return home, you can quickly re-twist the 1-3 pieces you undid. Voila. Another tip to feel more confident about rocking natural hair braids and twists which may seem a bit less unglamorous than extensions is to add some shine to the hair. You can infuse grapeseed oil or olive oil with aloe vera gel for the sheen, and I find my hair very shiny after co-washing with a can of coconut milk.

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OCM-Oil Cleansing Method

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Hey beautiful sisthren and brethren! Today is another day above ground, which means, another day to turn to the things that grow from the ground to nurture ourselves with. I have been on a serious winter budget and so I’m relying on Shea butter and EVOO to last me through winter because…well, that’s what I have on hand, as well as a tiny sample bottle of coconut oil. I made an all-purpose body/hair moisturizer with Shea and olive whipped together, but I’ve been trying the Oil Cleansing Method instead of buying a new face wash. I love it so far for moisturizing my skin and giving it a natural glow.

However, I’ve noticed whiteheads/blackheads around my nose so I find a coconut oil and turmeric powder scrub (just the right level of abrasiveness) works wonders! Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and is known for clearing skin up…and, it’s cheap! I leave mine on for 15 minutes and it really helps even out my skin and gives the perfect inner shine for melanated skin!

I also find EVOO and Shea is a double killer when it comes to moisturizing my hair, which I’ve been keeping in twists. Now, that my heater is on 24/7 I keep my hair in braids to better hold in moisture. EVOO works great for keeping my hair super smooth and soft in braids. It’s the perfect moisturizer for winter, especially for those on a budget! To give your hair a bit of growing power, adding rosemary to the EVOO will make the perfect elixir. Simply put a few clean sprigs in a bottle and leave it alone for a week and a half, then take the sprigs out and use the rosemary infused oil in your hair. I find if I leave the rosemary any longer than that, mildew will start to form. To avoid mildew, get the rosemary as DRY as you can before placing it in the bottle and rub it first to release its magical oils.

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Twist Challenge week 10

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Hey Natural Hair World! I’m in week 10 of my Twists Challenge  (wearing twists for 6 months for hair growth/ health) and I’m so grateful for having my hair in two strand twists!

The winds here are serious,  the air is dry and we are already at -1ºC and November barely started. Luckily,  keeping your hair in twists and braids gives it a much better chance of survival through the long, bitter winter.

My biggest challenge is remembering to keep the hair moisturized and looking presentable which means sometimes retwisting the top twists every day or two. It’s still a huge time-saver and really a great lesson in the versatility and beauty of  Afro hair. 20171106_131649.jpg

Week 6 of Twist Challenge

After a quick co-wash this morning ; I used a mix of emu oil, Shea butter and coconut oil to twist my hair. The front is corn rowed twists, the rest are single twists.

I noticed my hair is easier to detangle, and has less shrinkage. I want to massage the scalp with rosemary oils and peppermint oils which are ideal for scalp stimulation and hair growth . The emu oil is super moisturizing for the cooler, autumn days and light enough to use every day .

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Detangling

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Please don’t judge me as a bad mother because I haven’t detangled my 3 year old son’s hair in…forever. Actually ,  yes, it’s been probably a year. My son has gorgeous ringlets but lately the curls have been really matted and frizzy. And  my son’s not a poodle. So.

I am now a detangling believer because 10 minutes with a Denman and half a bottle of conditioner can change your life. My son has hair, a lot of hair ,  and it was suffocating in the bird’s nest in his head. I managed to painlessly detangle his hair in the bath before lovingly applying Shea, coconut and emu oil and his curls are all freed from bondage.

To be honest ,  I need to try detangling my own hair. I normally finger detangle, then wonder why I have frizz instead of heavenly coils! Detangling is life.

Castor Bagging

20171007_121003.jpgI tried out the method of soaking my dampened ends in castor oil to strengthen the oldest part of my hair and reduce troublesome split ends. I decided to leave it in for 20 minutes and let it soak in for the rest of the day  (without washing it out). You could do it at night but I didn’t want to ruin my pillow cases.

It is the start of week 4 of my twist challenge and there’s only 5 more months to go! I’ve grown so accustomed to having my hair twisted all the time ,  it’s actually a bother to have it untwisted .  I have noticed keeping it twisted lends to a looser curl pattern and definitely retains length noticeably! My goal is just to have shoulder length hair so I can enjoy a few more inches of growth and have more hair for my buns and ponytails :).

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Natural Cure

My son’s eczema has cured up considerably and naturally with a few oils and butters that are beneficial for hair and skin :  Shea butter ,  coconut oil ,  flax oil (ingested), emu oil and tea tree oil as well as a smidge of raw honey.

Not only is this golden mix of the perfect consistency to melt into one’s skin but it’s the perfect butter for hair too. I guess oils infused with Shea is nothing new but then again, Mother Nature is nothing new but she’s still oh, so good!20171004_123606.jpg

Castor Oil

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Some people hate it! Some people love it! And others–like me–put this thick, strong-smelling oil back in our winter arsenal to help combat the cold weather’s drying effects on our kinks and coils. Since I’m doing a Twist Challenge for 6 month (the hair growth already is ridiculous…I’m heading from chin-length to shoulder-length territory!!!), I thought I’d try some new things with castor oil this cold season because I want to maximize the hair growth during those 6 months.

While doing an overnight castor oil + coconut oil hair masque, (simply apply the oils to damp hair overnight and rinse in the morning), I wanted to try soaking the ends of my hair in castor oil and securing in little baggies and elastic bands to really repair split ends. My hair at my crown is so thick and voluminous, but by the time you reach the ends it’s like..string cheese. Dry, puffy string cheese. My ends are chronically dry and it makes a hairdo look…hairdon’t.

Another way to sneak the benefits of castor oil into your daily regimen is to put a few tablespoons into your daily mist to moisturize the hair. I already add a bit of aloe, conditioner, water and coconut oil but the castor oil will help with more moisture. Because really, can you ever have enough for our thirsty roots?

On Wash Day, consider a rigorous scalp massage with castor and peppermint oil, bonus if you have/make rosemary oil. Castor is apparently amazing for the scalp so this is something that can be done before shampooing your hair or co-washing it.

These are just some other ideas other than using it for LOC to just to put some on your ends. Which you can still do, of course! Because love it or hate it, castor oil is a natural girl’s best friend!

Twist Challenge: Week 2

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You guys! Everybody needs to get in on this fall/winter twist challenge. I’m telling you, it will breathe life into your natural coils and curls. I especially recommend it for my sisters with the kinkiest hair, or hair that tends to just stay dry,  no matter what oil, cream or prayer you put on it. I honestly HATED my hair in twists at first. I love my bouncy twist-outs and big hair, no lie. But it is worth the abundance of health, wealth and slayage that twists bring by giving your hair a vacay. Sidenote: you can do a lot of dope styles with twists, they don’t just have to be this horrendous protective  style. Sidesidenote: I haven’t quite mastered those amazeballs styles as yet. Maybe week 3 will be the week?!

Here’s a few tips to make a twist (or braid) challenge doable. First of all, if you start getting tired of twists…switch up to braids. If you are used to braids, do some twists. Secondly, you can change up the sizes–go mini for a few weeks or do some big, bold and beautiful chunky twists pinned up or side swept with some pretty earrings and a generous dollop of shine-increasing grapeseed oil. Just don’t forget to moisturize, spritz with water and massage that scalp (if you work out…and you SHOULD be working out, you can use tea tree oil or ACV to gently clean the scalp until wash day).

If you are truly serious about natural hair growth, a twist challenge will do the trick. The main reason I recommend it over adding synthetic extensions is because it really expands your self-love and helps you better understand your hair and appreciate the journey–every (sometimes) painful step of it. If you have synthetic hair covering your real, growing hair–you miss really working side by side with your hair. There are the subtle things you miss, there is a lot of intimacy with your hair you  miss out on. Trust me when you love your hair at its worst (or what you perceive to be its worst), when it’s ready to undo the twists and rock that SERIOUSSS twist out, you will literally SHINE with pride. And trust me, it’s so worth it. 6 months ladies! Let’s do it!